PolySciFi Blog

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Give us a whole lot more than $1.58, and we'll talk

A couple of days ago, Jody and I were talking about house-buying. Now normally, what happens on the fourth floor of Durham Hall stays on the fourth floor of Durham Hall, but it so happens that during our chat, I was inspired to spend a little time right then playing a game that I hadn't played since I was in the middle of my house search: Rich People House Hunting.

To play this game, you don't actually have to be a rich person. And in the information age, you don't even have to involve a realtor. Just use a realty website - I prefer www.realtor.com. On the front page, you can choose a locality, provide an obscenely high price range (what might constitute "obscene" will depend on your own means, and the locality you choose) and start fantasizing about what you'd do if you had enough money to toss away on something meaningless like a pile of concrete, steel and wood. Who knows, maybe you're this guy. Or this one. (Spoiler Warning: On the second one, if you've never seen it, you're going to have to wait until the end of the clip. If you have seen it, you can either laugh about it right away, or - as I do - watch the whole thing for the umpteen million and twelfth time, and laugh about it as you go.)

Anyway, I normally play this game with three localities: the New River Valley (it's where I live), the environs of New York City (I know how much it costs to eat at a TGIFriday's in Manhattan now, so I just go from there), and Los Angeles (Oh, I hear it's sort-of expensive to live out there).

On this particular run, I found a real beauty. One that got Jody and me talking. I'll let Jade Mills herself (she's the listing agent) wow you with the particular description for this listing. You can read the original listing here, and check out some of the pictures while you're there. (What Jody and I figure to be the screening room is quite sweet, but I still find the prospect of having a statue by my swimming pool to be a little ostentatious.)

Indescribable! Ultimate luxury, quality, and craftsmanship. From the grand entry and the sophisticated formal living and dining rooms to the many additional entertainment rooms and indoor & outdoor pools, this impressive estate appeals to every sense and satisfies every desire. Four stories of sumptuous living including beautiful master, gourmet kitchen and breakfast room, his and her offices, bowling alley, screening room, huge indoor pool & spa, racquetball court, state-of-the art spa & gym, and downstairs guest suite with two bedrooms, bath, and kitchen. Beautifully landscaped grounds with lawns, rose garden, fruit trees, patios, outdoor pool, spas, and full outdoor kitchen and BBQ. Gated, private and secure.
Among the other notable property features: 9 total bedrooms, 20(!) total bathrooms, 3 fireplaces, and marble, stone, and hardwood floors.

You too can be the proud owner of this luxurious property. For $53,000,000. You read that right. Fifty-three miiiiiiiillion dollars.

This figure got Jody and me thinking. First of all, don't get any ideas about buying this beauty, as we've already agreed that we're going halfsies on this house. Our agreement requires me to raise my 26.5 million dollars first. Once I've got my half, he indicated that he'd then chip in his share.

Of course, we're motivated by the fact that you'd have to be a fool to try to finance something like this. Who doesn't buy a house like this and pay cash? But never fear. If you're willing to put down 20 percent (snicker), someone (heh heh) could then lend you the rest. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage near the current average APR (about 5.4 percent) makes this exquisite property yours for the low, low payment of $237,799...a month.

Now in the middle of all of this, I realized that nowhere in the listing is there an indication of how much usable space the house has. You always see this in house listings, with the exception of houses that cover so much ground that it's not unreasonable to get lost in them one day out the month.

But quite undaunted, I decided to do some investigative journalism. I sent an e-mail to Jade Mills with the following inquiry:

Ms. Mills:

Good morning. I was browsing the listing shown above, and sheer curiousity drove me to ask what the measure of usable square footage on this beautiful estate might be. Any reasonably accurate indication that you can give would be appreciated, whether it includes indoor-only space, or whatever outdoor amenities can also be included.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Jason Thweatt
for Polyscifi Blog

You probably couldn't have guessed that I used my "fake" name there.

In any event, it's been my experience that realtors - unlike actors - only thrive on good publicity. This must be especially true of Hollywood realtors, so we'll see what sort of reply I get...


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